• March 27, 2009 - Article about Maestro Sergiu Comissiona's authorised biography in "Romania Literara" No.12
• May 21, 2009 - A Romanian Rhapsody - Book review by Charlie Smith in the Georgia Straight, Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly.
Vancouver author and poet Cecilia Burcescu has made a Herculean effort to prove that a conductor's fame outlasts his life in A Romanian Rhapsody: The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona. Click here to read more
• May 28-31, 2009 - A Romanian Rhapsody - The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona displayed as an Xlibris book selection at the International BookExpo America
(Jacob Javits Convention Centre, New York, May 28-31, 2009).
• June 5, 2009 - Article "Journey from Romania to Canada", by Olga Livshin, issued in the Jewish Indepenent, Vancouver weekly newspaper.
A longtime friend and writer pens Vancouver Maestro Sergiu Comissiona's biography.
• January 10, 2010 - A Romanian Rhapsody - The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona is one of the six "Editor's Choices" listed in the Vancouver Sun's weekend edition, in "Titles to Get a Reader's Year off to a Good Start". Several bookstores in Vancouver have immediately shown interest and have taken it in:
1553 W. Broadway (at Fir)
Phone: 604 736 8876
Phone: 604 685 6188
2176 41st Ave.
Phone: 694 263 9412
1392 Commercial Dr.
Phone: 604 253 6442
UBC Bookstore Point Grey Campus
6200 University Bld.
Phone: 604 822 2665
• June 24-29, 2010 - A Romanian Rhapsody - proudly displayed by Xlibris at the American Library Association 2010 Annual Conference
(Washington Convention Center 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington, D.C. 2001)
• April 16-18, 2012 - A Romanian Rhapsody - The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona displayed at the London Book Fair
• October 10-14, 2012 - A Romanian Rhapsody - The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona displayed at the Frankfurt Germany Book Fair
•September, 2014 - A Romanian Rhapsody - the book is available for purchase from GooglePlay store.
Leaving a Lasting Legacy of Love for Music
This authorized biography is a revealing and enriching look at the eventful life and illustrious career of Romanian-born American conductor Sergiu Comissiona
“Life is a great teacher, and I believe that the best lesson I have mastered from life is to see the glass as half-full, and not half-empty – to take from life only the best, regardless of all the horror I have witnessed in my existence….” Sergiu Comissiona
Vancouver, BC – (Release Date TBD) – Compellingly written by Cecilia Burcescu (with a Coda by Murry Sidlin), Maestro Sergiu Comissiona’s authorized biography, A Romanian Rhapsody, reveals facts about his happy childhood in a Jewish petit bourgeois family in Bucharest (then “the little Paris of Eastern Europe”), his adolescence under the Nazi specter, and his youth in repressive communist times behind the Iron Curtain. His life changes as he leaves behind the closed horizons of communist Romania for the broad ones of the Western world when he immigrates to Israel, later settling in England, then Sweden, and, finally, the United States. The book follows chronologically and analytically his career path, from an ensemble violinist to an internationally-renowned conductor, based on his own accounts, extended research, and revealing testimonials. The Maestro’s rationale for having his biography written was, in his own words, “for the Westerners to understand my deep attachment to my Romanian roots, for the Romanians to know about my struggle for artistic affirmation in the Western world, and mostly for young conductors to realize that through passion, patience and persistence – and by not committing suicide after the first failure – the dedicated commitment to the profession bears fruit.”
Know more about this “unstoppable Romanian rhapsodist” and the challenges of his eventful life and illustrious career. For more information, log on to www.Xlibris.com.
About the Author
Cecilia Burcescu has translated poetry (Letters of John Keats, Ed. Univers: Bucharest, Romania) confronting the difficulty of transferring poems from a Germanic into a Romance language, while striving to be a translator, not a “traitor” (thus counteracting the Latin saying: “Tradutore, traditore.”) She has published poetry in several American anthologies (Who’s Who in Poetry, The Best Poems and Poets of 2003, and others). Yet, once approached by Maestro Sergiu Comissiona with the request to write his biography, she has turned from poetry to prose, accepting the challenge of honoring the trust and privilege of his choice. She and her subject share a Romanian upbringing and the challenges of immigration as adults. Cecilia Burcescu – a Romanian by birth, a Canadian by choice – teaches university level literature in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A Romanian Rhapsody: The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona
by Cecilia Burcescu, with a Coda by Murry Sidlin
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
Trade Paperback; $23.99; 579 pages; 978-1-4363-1173-1
Cloth Hardback; $34.99; 579 pages; 978-1-4363-1174-8
To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7479. Tear sheets may be sent by regular or electronic mail to Marketing Services. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274 x.7876.
As well, here are some echoes regarding A ROMANIAN RHAPSODY: The Life of Conductor Sergiu Comissiona:
From Bucharest, B. Elvin, Sergiu Comissiona's cousin, a writer himself:
"I've read the bio excerpt on the website and I can bear witness to the authenticity of the true-to-life description of the childhood/family circumstances. Very smooth, expressive writing. Congratulations!
From Vancouverite-turned-New Yorker violinist Victor Costanzi, after "snatching" the book from his harpist-wife, Rita Costanzi's hands:
I have begun the book and am really enjoying it. Clear, clean insight; warmth in both conception and delivery, and all around a wonderful perspective on a musician to whom both Rita and I were very close - from a very perceptive and talented woman!
I will be recommending the book to all with whom I speak
Congratulations and thank you for taking on this task which you have performed so well! There are many people who will love having the story of this unique, inspired, complicated and very gifted man. He touched many and Rita and I feel blessed to have had our relationships with him.
With much affection,
From Conductor Larry Livingston (Professor of Conducting at the University of Southern California, Thornton Orchestras Music Director):
Indeed, the book is beautiful. Bravo!
From conductor Murry Sidlin (Dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music -The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC):
What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful biography; what dignity it evokes, and how magnetic it is on every page. To browse or study, it is a major attraction!!!!! You succeeded beyond all expectations. I love it. I love it. I will start reading it this evening having anxiously awaited the birth, the laughter, the genius, the sweetness, and debonair-ity of it all. How you captured him, and how his life and environs and history are all palpable on every page! This is exactly what he deserves, and has received. It's a monument for all time. I am so humbled to be a small part of it all.
Thank you!! AMAZING!!!! !!!!! Bravissimo!
...and about a week later:
The deeper I get into the bio, the more I'm absolutely enthralled with your capacity to give a kind of play by play account of everything that happened. It seems you were there and observing on the side. It is a joy - it's really like watching a film. It's just great, great writing and especially biographical writing. Not a moment is dull; not a moment is indifferent. It almost has a novel-like quality - not fictitious - just the way it's progressing. I'm thrilled with and by it and to be a part of it.
From conductor Joel Levine (The Oklahoma City Philharmonic Music Director)
I am very much looking forward to reading it and I'm so impressed that you brought it to completion.Sergiu would have been SO pleased. I know from our last conversations here [LAST, indeed, as they unfortunately proved to be] how much joy this collaboration brought him. Bravo!
From Lloyd Dykk, music critic with the Vancouver Sun:
I read the sample chapter and loved it! Beautiful writing and highly evocative. What I call rich, generous writing. Bravo!
and a few days later, after having gotten the book:
... What joy your book is giving me! I went straight to bed with it last night and could hardly stop sampling. I'll eventually settle down and read it in an orderly fashion, but right now it's difficult to stop diving into it at random like a box of ultra-deluxe chocolates. Only this is better than Lindt. I’m sure this book is going to do very well.It's your own writing that comes under scrutiny here, and it's so far above the usual biography style, being sophisticated, witty and sly. Your book has already had the effect of making me melancholy with its picture of a man I wish I'd got to know.
From Lee Duckles, Vancouver Symphony Cello Principal:
I am absolutely delighted to have this marvelous biography. The wonderful insights, accounts, and reminiscences have stirred joyful memories these past few days. You have performed a great service to the music community - and especially to those of us who knew him.
With deep admiration,
From Janet Steinberg, Vancouver Symphony Cello Assistant Principal:
I truly appreciate the time and dedication it must have taken to complete the book. We are all very lucky that you have commemorated Maestro Comissiona's life in this way. Thank you!Sincerely,
From Elizabeth Volpé Bligh, Vancouver Symphony Principal Harp :
Thank you for taking the time to write this book about Maestro Sergiu Comissiona. As orchestra musicians and soloists, we knew him as a very demanding but extremely sensitive and musical conductor. It was fascinating to read all the stories and realize what hardships shaped his life before he arrived on the podium of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. I wish I had known these stories when he was here with us, but better later than never.
From conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, Music Director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra of Yale University, Connecticut:
I got the book and started reading it. How poetic! Difficult to put it down. Beautifully written. Thank you!!!
From Charlie Smith, Editor of the Georgia Straight
I enjoyed reading your book and I can tell that it was a true labour of love. You've done an enormous amount of research and I found it highly educational. You also included many terrific anecdotes. The Nazi period was obviously horrific, but I think I might have been affected even more by the repression that he and his wife endured following their application to immigrate to Israel. I think you also did a great job in explaining the role that Sergiu Comissiona played in reviving the VSO after the Barshai years.
Thanks for your patience and congratulations on all your hard work.
Editor Georgia Straight